Legal Community Gathers for TBA Convention

The 2013 TBA Annual Convention moved into full swing today, with Bench/Bar programming analyzing the future of the legal profession, followed by a luncheon keynoted by Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. In the Bench/Bar program, Professor Thomas D. Morgan of George Washington University Law School discussed his book, The Vanishing Lawyer, leading into a discussion on the future of the legal profession. Memphis attorney Bill Haltom then guided a panel discussion on the topic featuring judges and lawyers from across the state. Afternoon activities centered around the Better Next Year event. That program  included short rotating presentations, exhibits, and demonstrations, all designed to help lawyers increase their energy and engagement. See photos from these events and more from the 2013 convention.

Today's Opinions

Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format.

00 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
00 - TN Court of Appeals
01 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR
00 - TN Supreme Court - Disciplinary Orders

You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Leah R. Wilson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jiovani Castillo Galeana.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Robert T. Homlar, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Jiovani Castillo Galeana, petitioned the Davidson County Criminal Court for post-conviction relief from his 2011 guilty-pleaded conviction of possession with intent to sell 300 grams or more of cocaine. The conviction resulted in a Range I sentence of 18 years to serve in the Department of Correction. Following an evidentiary hearing, the postconviction court denied relief, and following our review, we affirm the order of the postconviction court.

Judge Rules in Favor of Occupy Nashville Protestors

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger has ruled that state officials violated the First Amendment rights of Occupy Nashville protesters who were arrested in 2011, the Nashville Business Journal reports. Trauger awarded monetary damages to the plaintiffs, including seven arrested protesters, though the amount will be determined at a later date. A spokesperson for the Haslam administration told The City Paper that the ruling "is being reviewed."

Study Details Obstacles Confronting Minority Law Students

Diversity may be a priority for some law schools, but minority law students still face a harder road to a juris doctor than their white counterparts, according to an article in the latest edition of the Berkeley Journal of African-American Law & Policy. 
"Measuring Racial Uneveness of Law School" concludes that minority law students face additional hurdles as a result of the structure of law school, the relatively small number of minority students and faculty on law campuses, and racial bias. 
The National Law Journal has the story.

Lawsuit Challenges Appellate Judge Appointments

John Jay Hooker is again filing suit challenging the current judicial selection method and the plan to appoint three candidates to succeed the three appeals court judges who will retire August 21, 2014, Gavel Grab reports. Hooker claims that their planned appointment robs voters of the chance to elect the judges in the election next year. He argued the “state Constitution requires that there be an election… They are unconstitutionally calling off an election.”

Judge Tells Female Attorneys to Dress Professionally

Rutherford County Circuit Court Judge Royce Taylor has drafted a letter telling female attorneys to dress professionally at court. Judge Taylor said he received a number of complaints from lawyers concerning other lawyers’ apparel choices, and that judges weren’t holding female attorneys to the same standard as male lawyers. The Tennessean has the story.

Newcomers to the NLJ 350 List Profiled

Of the 350 largest law firms in the country ranked by the National Law Journal NLJ350, Constangy Brooks and Smith was one of 15 firms profiled that entered, or rejoined, the list this year. Ranked at number 264 with 148 lawyers, the Atlanta-based firm has an office in Nashville.

Ramsey, Harwell Call for State Contract Review

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell said that the legislature’s Fiscal Review Committee should re-examine the no-bid deals awarded to Jones Lang LaSalle, a real estate firm in which Gov. Bill Haslam has invested. According to the Tennessean, Jones Lang LaSalle won a contract to manage state building and arrange leases on the state’s behalf. While Ramsey and Harwell defend the firm’s work as having saved the state money -- and say they see no evidence of impropriety by Haslam or others -- they said the manner in which the deals were awarded should be reviewed.

DOJ: Youth in Tenn. Juvenile Correctional Facilities at Greater Risk of Sexual Victimization

Youth in Tennessee juvenile correction facilities are at greater risk of being sexually victimized than the national average, according to a report recently released by the U.S. Department of Justice. The report estimates that 9.5 percent of youth in state or private correctional facilities across the nation were sexually victimized in 2011-2012. The rate for Tennessee facilities was 13 percent. The report defines sexual victimization as forced sexual activity between youths and all sexual activity involving youth and staff. The Tennessean has the story.

AG: Cordova De-Annexation Effort Lacks Legal Authority

Attorney General Robert Cooper issued a formal opinion stating Cordova area residents have no legal authority to demand a referendum for de-annexing from the City of Memphis, the Commercial Appeal reports. Issued at the request of state Rep. Steve McManus, R-Memphis, the opinion confirms that under state law, any de-annexation referendum must be initiated by the legislative body of the incorporated city or town -- in this case, the Memphis City Council -- by passing an ordinance calling for a referendum on the issue.

Supreme Court Rules DNA Not Patentable

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled today that “naturally occurring” DNA segments cannot be patented, the Blog of the Legal Times reports. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the opinion for the court in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, which is considered by some a victory for civil liberties and consumer groups that argued corporations should not be able to lock up the uses of new DNA that could benefit patients if widely available. The Myriad patents at issue in the case were for BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene segments which, when mutated, can increase the risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Myriad developed diagnostic tests from the segments that could reveal cancer risk in women.

Judge Strikes Law Banning Demonstrations at U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell struck down the 64-year-old law that prohibits demonstrations and displays on the grounds of the U.S Supreme Court, the National Law Journal reports. “The absolute prohibition on expressive activity in the statute is unreasonable, substantially overbroad, and irreconcilable with the First Amendment,” Howell wrote in the 68-page ruling issued in the case Hodge v. Talkin. If the government appeals the decision, Tuesday's ruling could set the stage for the Supreme Court's first review of the no-protest law in 30 years.

Seersucker: It's Worth Fighting Over

In his column, Bill Haltom takes a poke at the Tennessee legislature -- Guns in Trunks, Don't Say Gay, livestock cruelty -- but what really riles him up is … seersucker.


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About this publication: Today's News is a compilation of digests of news reports of interest to Tennessee lawyers compiled by TBA staff, links to digested press releases, and occasional stories about the TBA and other activities written by the TBA staff or members. Statements or opinions herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tennessee Bar Association, its officers, board or staff.

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